Paul, C. and Schofield, A. (2009) e-Portfolios for teacher candidates UBC e-Strategy Update, October 14

This is a discussion and evaluation of the use of e-portfolios at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Education. Teacher candidates are encouraged to collect artifacts and written corresponding reflections from their course work and practica which they later co-relate to the professional standards of practice established by the BC College of Teachers.

Some e-portfolio experts, such as Ray Tolley, are likely to be critical of this approach to e-portfolios, since it is somewhat imposed on students in order to meet ‘external’ assessment criteria set by a professional body. For some students, it came as a retroactive rather than a formative activity.

One excellent feature though is that some of the students have made their e-portfolios accessible through this article, as concrete examples of e-portfolios for those not familiar with the concept. It is also refreshing to see an article that provides an evaluation of the weaknesses as well as the strengths of this approach to using e-portfolios.


  1. Hi, Tony,

    I’m not *THAT* critical of this approach – in fact a really feel that as an institution this is a wonderful start and should be encouraged, for the time being. The report reads very well and if I was ‘your side of the pond’ I’d be over and congratulating the staff on what they are doing – yes, the report is really worth sharing!

    The only thing that concerns me is that the Trainee Teachers will inevitably want to replicate what they have learnt and have become comfortable with in the schools to which they get appointed. However, the tools that intelligent adults can learn to use are not necessarily adaptoed to, say, usage by those under 10 yrs old.

    I feel that we are only just begining to move from the stage with e-Portfolios that we were some 15-20 years ago with ICT. Trainee teachers and for that matter pupils in schools were then being taught the rudiments of IT in a somewhat ‘follow the manual of instructions’ approach. Once institutions have fully adopted e-Portfolio practice as being normative I would hope that all institutions will see the value of on-line assessments and Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) with all the benefits of Web2.0 as being a part of normal education practice.

    I am sure that learners, whatever their status, will also realise the need for a personally owned and portable e-Portfolio tool that can supplement an institution’s activities and will move with them from institution to instituion and also onwards through employment and on through to retirement!

    Ideally, the ‘holy grail’ of interoperability would allow students to take their own artefacts, layout and cosmetic features within their e-Portfolios with them on to the next stage of their professional journey. However, it might be 10-15 years before the magic of true interoperability becomes such a reality. Until that time occurs, if ever, I therefore argue for a personally owned, and e-secure system that meets the needs of all ages and abilities.

    Best wishes to you all,
    Ray T

  2. Hi, Ray
    Sorry if I attributed feelings that you don’t actually feel to you, and many thanks for your comments!

    This is really a story of an evolving process, where mistakes were made early on (retroactive e-portfolios imposed on students for accreditation purposes) then corrected over time, with better training and students now from the beginning developing e-portfolios that also now reflect their needs as well as the accreditation agency’s.

    As you say, good for them for getting started, even if mistakes were initially made.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here